Jon Hughes is a sound artist, composer, singer and researcher based in York, working collaboratively with practitioners from a wide range of fields including dance, visual arts, theatre, biology, physics and archaeology.
Jon has many years experience as a choral singer. He sung for 6 years as part of The 24, a choir based at the University of York. The 24 was run by John Potter, from The Hilliard Ensemble, and Professor William Brooks. With The 24, Jon had the chance to work with well known artists such as the Gavin Bryars, and the Estonian composer Veljo Tormis. Jon toured China 3 times, toured Germany, and performed many concerts in the UK. Solo experience included singing solo tenor in Stef Connors new piece Iss in the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, in Shanghai, China.
In the summer of 2016, Jon collaborated with choreographer Simon Birch and choral director Claire Ingleheart to create Shoreline, a major project in Cornwall funded by the Arts Council and FEAST. Shoreline involved over 100 singers and 5 professional dancers performing outdoors in Cornwall, on the beaches of Kynance Cove, Sennan Cove and Watergate bay (see here: Shoreline website, and also here: Shoreline page on Jon’s website). It was conceived as a meditation on the borderline between land and sea, embodied movement and vocal expression. Jon was composer for the project, with Claire Ingleheart working as musical director. The project was a great success, being seen by several thousand people and receiving great reviews in the press (see here: press review).
Other recent projects Jon has composed for include the dance piece Terrarium , commissioned for the North York Moors National Park Authority in 2012 (see here), and Transmission, a collaboration with evolutionary biologist Professor Mike Brockhurst and Becs Andrews (see here).
Jon is also a yoga teacher, and founded Jhula Yoga in York, which runs low cost, regular early morning yoga classes 5 days a week at St Lawrence Church Hall, Lawrence Street (Monday – Friday, 7:30am-8:30am.) See here for more information: Jhula Yoga website
Jon completed a PhD in composition at the University of York in 2015. At present, alongside a busy freelance composition career, he is working on Soundtracks, a postdoctoral research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust and run in partnership with the British Library Sound Archive. Soundtracks is a cross-disciplinary project involving both the Archaeology and Music departments at the University of York, concerned with using sound to explore the biography of landscape. Jon is also a qualified yoga teacher, having completed a Yoga Alliance 200hr teacher training program in Rishikesh, India in 2014.
You can find more information about Jon and his work on his website: Jon’s website
The Natural Voice Practitioners Network
Jon is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners Network, an organisation that promotes community choirs and community based approaches to singing and using the voice. A quote from their website will give you an idea of what they stand for:
“We are a network of people who work with voice and song, and who believe that singing is everyone’s birthright, regardless of musical experience or ability.”
You can find their website here: Natural Voice Practitioners Network website
Many people see themselves as ‘non singers’ because of previous experiences of criticism and judgment. Many are excluded from singing activities because they do not have music-reading skills or trained voices. Our work aims to counteract these experiences and give people confidence in their voices by providing them with a supportive learning environment and a suitable repertoire.
We are a network of people who share a common philosophy in relation to singing and groupwork. Most members are based in the UK but we have a steadily growing international membership. We’ve been a constituted group since 2000. Our working methods and philosophy emerged out of the pioneering work of Frankie Armstrong who began leading voice workshops in the early 1970s. You can read more about our history on the How The NVPN Was Born page.
We believe that singing is everybody’s birthright. For thousands of years all over the world people have sung — to express joy, celebration and grief, to aid healing, to accompany work, devotion and the rituals of life — without worrying about having a “good” voice or “getting it right”. Singing has been a part of life, a way of binding communities.
Each person’s voice is as unique as their fingerprint: the voice we are born with is capable of freely expressing a full range of emotions, thoughts and experience – this is what we mean by the “natural voice”.
Creating an accepting community is an essential element of our approach: a community where singing together is a natural experience that is open and accessible to all.